Remember when I told you about FIA last week? Well, obviously, I was there! While I was going through the stands and food stalls I thought about you – yes, you, my dear readers! It wouldn’t make sense to try to talk about everything so, just because I like you all very much, I’ll share some of the things that caught my attention and I’ll even tell you how you can get them.
Note: I was not in any way paid or sponsored for this post.
Now, where should I start? Hmmm… Do I hear someone screaming “food”? Sounds fine to me!
Of all the places selling jams, conventual sweets, liqueurs and all the more common things, I’d like to mention three:
– Sabores da Gardunha – Gardunha is a small mountain range, South of Serra da Estrela, which is famous for its cherries. Besides jams with conventional and unconventional flavours (like pumpkin, plum, ginja and apple & chestnut) they also have other products: certified kosher jams, figs in sugar syrup and an amazing limited edition of bolletus jam (yes, that’s right, mushroom jam). I’m told this jam got great reviews in Germany and, guess what, I got to taste it. They’re also working on having certified halal products. Even their most basic jams are made with fruit and sugar (except for the fructose jams, for those avoiding sugar, of course) with no weird ingredients . Their website is all in Portuguese, but I’m sure that if you drop them an email they’ll be happy to reply. Some gourmet stores in Portugal also have their products.
– Azores Gourmet – I bet you’ve heard of these beautiful islands. This stand stood out for me because of its amazing jams (do I detect a pattern here?). Well, they had lots of other products, but tasting jams made with fruits I had never even heard of, like butiá, certainly got my attention. Their jams have 65 gr of fruit for each 100 grams of jam, which means you’re getting the real deal. Obviously they have a website. You can also find their products in mainland Portugal.
– Queijadinha- Doçaria Conventual – You may remember my post about conventual sweets… Well, if you think they’re all these incredibly sweet things, heavy with eggs and covered in sugar, think again. These queijadinhas were first mentioned in a document from 1513 and they’re made with queijo fresco (something similar to cottage cheese), a bit of flour, some eggs and a bit of sugar. No, really, they’re not very sweet – they’re a very fluffy and slightly crumbly sort of pastry that’s not likely to give you cavities. Their website is all in Portuguese, but you can look at the pretty pictures. If you’re in Portugal you can find them in Coimbra and in Almada (South of Lisbon).
Apart from food I’d like to bring your attention to some handicraft products. Sounds boring? Trust me, it won’t be:
– Gradirripas – I bet you’ve heard about Jamie Oliver. Maybe you have one or two of his books, perhaps you’ve tried a few of his recipes. What if I told you that the planks he sells in his “Jamie’s Italian” collection are made in… Portugal? That’s right, the Portuguese company Gradirripas makes all the 8 exclusive models you can find in Jamie’s website. Obviously, you can actually buy those same items directly from them with minimal differences in size and shape. They’re mostly made from pine wood that comes from sustainable forest areas in Central Portugal. Their website is all in Portuguese but have a look around and if you’d like to have a word with them look up under the tab ‘Contactos’.
– Artesanato da Quinta – I don’t know if you’re familiar with the concept of fairy doors but even if you’re not you can’t deny this is an amazingly cute work. I mean, look at all the details: the little striped curtain, the small steps, the lamp/pine above the door… And yes, you can open the door. They have a Facebook page where you can have a look at more of their works (which reminds me: have you liked this blog’s Facebook page? No?! Go there! Now! Stat!).
– Fontes Magro Artesanato – Well, this is not a fairy door, but a namoradeira. What’s that, I hear you ask? Namoradeira is a type of window that can still be found in rural parts of the country, in old houses. It’s basically a more or less low window that has seats on the side, inside the house. Back in the day (when couples didn’t get to kiss before their wedding day) this is where young couples would traditionally “date”: the girl inside the house, at the window, and the boy standing outside. Even then they’d probably have someone else, like the girl’s sister or mother, acting as chaperone (tough times!). They don’t have a website, but this page has their contacts and photos of some of their works.
– Cutelaria Ernesto Pires – If you like to have a small knife around with you for the occasional wood carving (or just because it’s handy) have a look at this knife. This model, called “Verdugal” is patented by the company and is very similar to the old pocket knives men used to carry around with them and which served for a multitude of purposes, from cutting rope or wire to slicing some cheese for lunch. Before Swiss Army knives came around one blade had to be good enough to do several things. Obviously they have a website!
– Artesanato Pereira – Last but not least, wicker weaved products! I love the stuff: it’s light, versatile and a natural product. Doesn’t get much better than this. I wanted to bring everything (wicker was the theme for this year’s Portuguese exhibitors) but somehow that just seemed wrong, so I chose this bottle instead. Much better to have your water (better than plastic, let’s face it), the shape is unsual and it has a cork cap and everything! Unfortunately their website is all in Portuguese but if you go to “Produtos” you can see some of the things they create and in “Contactos” you can have a word with them.
Hope you liked my choices!